My last post provoked a debate and I have received a lot of comments and emails from you, thank you. It's best I deal with them here, rather than go through each one individually.
If you are young, black, white or whatever, you mustn't feel that society is against you because it is not. People who shout out at youngsters for walking along the street are ignorant and useless. There are plenty of young people struggling out there and they are good individuals with respect, courtesy and a sense of morality - the bad kids are still in the minority I feel but that again is the problem - we tend to pander to minorities and ignore the damage and segregation it causes among most of the population. What we need to do is be fair to everyone, regardless, but we have no ability to do that effectively and we fear being called something-ist if we try.
Respect for the police and teachers has diminished because kids are told their 'rights' by their parents and parents do this because they fear a lack of power when other authorities are in charge of their off-spring. They want to control their children, so they degrade the police officer's and teacher's power by spouting off at every opportunity about abuse and assault. This has its roots in the many stories that were headlined over the past decades about child abuse, corporal punishment and the very real misuse of power by a minority of those who had it - off we went like headless chickens when a few bad apples were caught. It's the same today; our armed officers are now almost ritually put on trial if they shoot an armed and dangerous man; moreso after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menenez. That, of course, was a terrible tragedy in which a communication failure resulted in an innocent man's death but nobody stopped to think of the bravery involved when those officers ran directly into what they believed was a terrorist with a bomb. After 7/7 they knew that their lives were in imminent danger but they did their job without hesitation. That is precisely why we have them, is it not? If they'd shot a terrorist and an explosion had been stopped, they'd be heroes. So, we're doing it again; we're counting the number of shots fired and soon enough we'll expect these men and women to challenge someone and then wait five minutes before firing in case they've got it wrong. I can tell you they'll all hang up their guns, as would I.
There are many more examples of such stupidity but my point is that, over time, these stories and the way they are written create an undercurrent of hatred and thus a lack of respect. Power is slowly removed from these people en masse and voila! - we have a society that honestly believes that they can tell the cops and teachers what to do and that we know better every time.
In my profession I have often felt disgust and anger at the behaviour of some of the 'patients' I have to deal with. I refuse to call them sir or madam because I will not give them the excuse to overturn my polite respect with vitrionic hatred. Those poor cops and teachers out there are under the same pressure to bow down to basically bad people. Why should they? If they input nothing to society then they should receive nothing in return. What is wrong with us? If we were a company, we'd be in liquidation right now.
My message is simple if you care to listen. Don't tell our police force how to do their job and trust that the majority of them are good and fair. Don't tell your kids that the teacher can't punish them because that just opens up the flood gates and they will go to school knowing that they can do what they want!
If you are a parent, look at your children; consider how they behave towards you - it's a real clue to how they are behaving towards others.
I watched a little gang of hoodies walking up the street in north London as I travelled home; they were all black kids. They looked like they were going nowhere really and stayed pretty close together as they walked along. I considered what I'd do if I was a cop. Would I stop and search? If they were white, would I still do the same? If they carried a weapon, what next? I felt like a racist just because I immediately thought they were up to no good but everyone has an instinct about people and you can tell when someone is a threat and when they are not. How many times have you crossed over when you've seen a group of young men walking in your direction? Would you do that if they were women? Does that make you sexist?
On the flip side, I've had problems with white guys and have made great friends with b lack guys out there; it really makes no difference to me at all - it's all about their demeanour and the way they talk to me. I take no-one on face value.
Using the race card to stop the police from thwarting another stabbing isn't good enough and, frankly, you are an apologist. Most of the knife and gun crimes are being carried out by black youth in London - their skin colour has nothing to do with it really; these are bad people and they could be yellow but there has to be a bit of common sense used - targeted searching must be implemented. The same principle applies at airports, where they will search old ladies and have children remove their shoes in order to show 'fairness'. They're just too scared to be seen as racist or something-ist if they select identifiable possibilities and search them only.
It's all very complex and raises issues we don't want to face but most of us are thinking or discussing behind closed doors. Plenty of white kids carry knives but, as I said...and it's a fact...almost all of the reports you have read have involved black youth gangs, so it is inevitable that most of the stop and searches you'll hear about will target them. Sorry, but do you want to live in safety or not?
It's all too easy to sit in judgment of the people charged with our safety and the education of our children. It's time to stop it and let them do their jobs. I teach first aid in lots of schools and I have never met such a population of worried professionals in my life; most of them are too scared to put a plaster on your kids because you might try to sue them if a rash breaks out! For Pete's sake, it's all gone too far, hasn't it?
As for Liberalism; I agree, I can't use the word negatively and I didn't mean to. I am trying to express the mind-set of parents who think that freedom is allowing their kids to run riot without consequences and who tell them they are better than the rest of society, so they must cry out for their rights whenever someone challenges their behaviour. That's not a society at all, that's tribal.